Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Time is Brain!

May is National Stroke Awareness month...and seeing that this is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States, I figured it's a pretty important topic to talk about!

Let's start with a...

Question 1: Who is more likely to die from a stroke?
                   a. Women
                   b. Men

Question 2: Symptoms of a stroke include all of the following EXCEPT:
                    a. Confusion
                    b. Abdominal Pain
                    c. Trouble speaking
                    d. Paralysis of part of the body
                    e. Sudden, severe headache

Question 3: The time frame from when your stroke symptoms start to when you see a physician can dramatically alter the treatment that is given to you.
                    a. TRUE
                    b. FALSE

Question 4: People who smoke double their risk of stroke.
                   a. TRUE
                   b. FALSE

Big Stroke...not good!
Let's do a little background work here. There are TWO types of strokes, ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes happen with something (plaque/cholesterol) BLOCKS an artery, and thus blood supply, to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain BURSTS, causing a bleed inside the brain. Ischemic strokes are more common, occurring in about 90% of cases of stroke.

Believe it or not, women are more likely to die of a stroke then men. Why? Mostly because we live longer, and the incidence of stroke increases with age. Again, just like heart disease, this is not a "man's" disease...it affects us too!

Time lost is Brain lost!
The MOST IMPORTANT thing I could ever, EVER possibly voice on today's post is the importance of TIME in stroke symptoms. As physicians and healthcare providers, we say "Time is Brain" meaning that the longer a person with a stroke waits to get medical care, the more brain (and function) is lost. Also, it is very important for your doctor to know exactly what time the symptoms started..so be sure to check your watch. The time frame of symptoms may change the treatment in the ER.

Here are some of the "biggie" symptoms of a stroke. REMEMBER...if you or a family member begins to experience these symptoms CALL 911. DO NOT WAIT. ..:)

Sign's of stroke:
1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg- especially if it is on just one side
2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or trouble understanding
3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
4. Sudden trouble walking or loss of coordination
5. Sudden SEVERE (like worst EVER) headache.

What things can you do to help prevent stroke?
Just like in my previous posts about reducing heart disease, this holds true for stroke as well. NOT smoking (smokers have double risk of stroke), keeping blood pressure normal, having a healthy cholesterol level, and daily diet and exercise will all help to keep your risk of stroke low.

1. a.
2. b.
3. a.
4. a.

Until next time....


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